Uh-oh! Just like that, the news goes from good to bad for Giganews. Just yesterday Giganews was celebrating 1000 days of binary retention. Today they are being sued by the adult business “Perfect 10” – maker of the popular Perfect 10 magazine and well known for their “Perfect 10” nude models.
This lawsuit could very well be a significant test of usenet’s ability to withstand traditional DMCA lawsuits. Slyck has a detailed writeup of the lawsuit here, and a link to the actual PDF complaint here. TorrentFreak has also picked up on the lawsuit via Slyck and has this to say on the matter.
Basically, Perfect 10 alleges that Giganews is storing their copyrighted works on servers and reselling the material to their subscribers. This, of course, flies in the face of how usenet actually works – but reality has rarely stopped a lawyer, or a lawsuit. In addition to naming Giganews, Perfect 10 has named 100 “John Does” and listed a major Giganews reseller as a defendant. That could implicate various newgroups providers, like Supernews, Usenet.net, and others.
Perfect 10 has asked for $25 million in damages for unlawful conduct, actual damages, illegal profits, and various other infractions. This lawsuit is basically no different than a typical $20,000 per downloaded song from napster lawsuit in that regard.
It’s also worth mentioning that Perfect 10 has been on a lawsuit rampage lately. They’ve sued Microsoft, Google, MegaUpload, Rapidshare and others for essentially the same thing. Basically, it seems like Perfect 10 is whining that their business is in the toilet, complaining that they can’t possibly keep printing their magazine because of all the copyright infringement. Now I’m no lawyer, but you would think that after losing this argument multiple times they would have given up. And really, Penthouse, Hustler, and Playboy are still around (doing quite well I might add), and people have been ripping off those pictures since the early days of desktop scanners!
Overall, this seems like more of a nuisance lawsuit than anything else. Still, although pretty thin, it will be interesting to watch it unfold. Remember folks, our editors always recommend using SSL when on usenet, and it’s good practice to utilize a secure VPN service as well! Here’s to hoping Giganews defends the rights of usenet and the many participants that utilize the usenet infrastructure, newsgroups, and articles to promote the free flow of information around the globe.